I’ve got a BIG mouth. Combine that with my invisible soapbox and it can be an awful mess.
It’s my spiritual gift (add whatever level of sarcastic-tone you want here to feel better about me, I always do.)
I recently joined a new small group, of mostly women I know, love, and trust. In small groups of past, my invisible soapbox often came out during gatherings…appropriately because issues of wrong and right with Jesusy matters is where my passion lies. The few women in this new group who know me, have put up with my moments— and still love me. So I’m stickin’ with them—not to mention how fabulously wonderful they are.
This new small group was rapidly rolling through a study called “Women of God”. It was generic enough that the author could change the title to “Men of God”, fix a couple pronouns, and easily republish the book. On one hand I appreciate this because studies that get into being a Proverbs 31 woman or being a gody-can-do-everything mom make me want to use the study book like a Frisbee. I think a vast majority of women are already bent and tired of hearing the accolades of Solomon’s (or Lemuel’s) perfect idea of the Stepford Wife. So on that I digress. And when it comes to studies revisiting motherhood at every turn, well—I have no kids. Books that over focus on this may be great for some—but are quite useless to me. Women who don’t have kids often feel like a fifth-wheel in Bible Studies, and mothers are overly interested in why we are childless… It just gets a bit invasive. One day soon I will rant about this very subject from my perspective (and soapbox).
Right, back to my invisible soapbox. Honestly I don’t mean to carry it around with me. Most of the time I’m unaware of its presence. But it takes the slightest of ungraceful remarks or comments that slap the face of justice, and like the best quick-draw sharp-shooter my box is out and I’m ready to hop up.
I don’t always hop up on my box, but inside I’m poised like a sprint runner in the starting blocks. And in a new group with women I haven’t bonded with yet—I try to be extra cautious. But this one day, I could no longer contain myself.
We were talking about perseverance, something I know too much about these days. In fact too many of us know too much about this topic. Things were going along smoothly, we were sharing stories of grace and perseverance when out of nowhere someone lobs onto the end of a story, “You just have to wonder why God is testing them so much.”
I heard that gunshot and I was a wild racer off the blocks. It didn’t help that it smarted of a comment I recently heard; someone openly wondered why another was going through such heartache and what sin must be present in their life that brought on the storm.
I was already primed blurting, “God does NOT work up schemes to test us. There is free-will, and it messes up this world, and bad things happen. I do NOT believe for one moment that God tests us like that. God does not produce heartache and misfortune, He doesn’t create these moments. But He DOES know how to work theses messes for His good; and perseverance allows us to muddle through and bring glory to God.” I rambled for a moment and then saw wide eyes staring back at me.
Oh great, I’ve done it again… Some of these women knew nothing of me and my soapbox until today. One even thought I was the “shy” type. I hope I wasn’t too wild with the fire in my belly.
I don’t know why I get so riled-up about erroneously blaming God (even when it’s done innocently without that intention). It’s like someone trying to say a bad thing about my husband, or brother, or close friends. I’m gonna defend them to the ground when someone mis-characterizes them—because I know their hearts. And even though I might not understand God and all His wonderful and frustrating ways—I think I know a smattering of His heart. Just like I think I understand a mother’s heart even though I do not bear that title.
A mother allows a child to face tough stuff—never wanting a scraped knee, bruised heart, or tear to come to her child. But life happens, and we learn that a stove is hot, bubblegum creates a rat’s nest in hair, and when you hit your brother—9 out of 10 times you’re gonna get clobbered back. All lessons a mother would rather not have you learn the hard way. And isn’t God just the same? He will never place a hot stove under your hand nor leave you without enough patience to walk away from a fight. He doesn’t set out to let a child die, a woman get raped, a family become homeless, or a man paralyzed at the hands of a drunk driver. That is not God. That is free-will, nature, and the world.
God is good. All the time.
The world and people are faulty. All of the time.
With awkward grace I put my invisible soapbox away. And let others (the women I love) restate my passion into more eloquent and soft words.
I may never fully grow-up and master the art of tempered Holy-Spirit fire. I might never learn to control my “spiritual gifts”. So, I’ll be gun-shy with my soapbox for a short-bit and hope for a better performance the next time.